For Helen’s AHRC-funded doctoral project, in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, she is researching the interior decorative scheme of the Museum's Gothic Revival building. The interior includes portrait statues and busts, decorative stonework and ironwork, as well as murals and bespoke furnishings.
Through analysis of these objects and research in the Museum’s archives, Helen wishes to examine the function and effect of these decorative objects in a museum dedicated to scientific education. She is particularly interested in how the concept of 'diversity in unity' can be applied to the decorative scheme and how this concept also appears in Victorian theology and science. Helen is looking forward to this being an interdisciplinary project, assessing the art and design of the Museum in relation to institutional history, history of collections, museology and the development of different scientific disciplines.